How to turn your hobbies and interests into an A grade

How to turn your hobbies and interests into an A grade Hobbies by Jackie Kever

This article was written by Paul Harris, published on 5th April 2011 and has been read 8618 times.

As you’re making your way through the school curriculum, you may be thinking about exams, revision and where to start; as Easter approaches, students rush back home to flick through textbooks and Powerpoint slides to cram in vital information for the upcoming examinations. How do you turn your hobbies into activities that will guarantee you an A-grade, whilst still having fun? Here is our tried-and-tested technique to securing good marks by doing stuff you enjoy...

1) Hobbies

Whether you’re into arts and crafts, fancy yourself as the next Keats, enjoy fishing or get your kicks out of micro-blogging, you can make these work to your linguistic advantage by doing them in another language. It’s simple - you turn your preferences/settings on your computer to your acquired language, thus making your searches, posts, picture-findings etc come up with foreign results. As such, you can enjoy pictures, poems and posts in your new language and reap the rewards linguistically. Follow people from la douce France, hipster Germany or get into South American design from Chile and Argentina; the choice is yours, but the internet is there for you to find communities and aficionados from different parts of the world, whilst talking or blogging about something you love!

2) Community sites

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and ThirdYearAbroad all have something in common - they allow you to converse and meet people (either virtually or at events) from all over the world. You can find out about the latest festivals, language meet-ups and more, from a few simple clicks. It’s also a great way to plan your year abroad as you’ll be able to see what’s on offer, what’s hot (and what’s not), from people’s ‘likes’ and comments. Twitter works brilliantly, as you can find out about stuff going on in your area in real time, and you can find conversation partners on ThirdYearAbroad by simply using our search button and message users.

3) News

Watching the news, either on TV or on your computer, from abroad will leave you at an advantage when it comes to oral exam topics, as well as giving you listening practice and keeping you abreast with media coverage outside of the UK. Foreign newspapers should be your first port of call, as well as searching out radio stations with spoken word, as well as watching part of the BBC World Service website.

4) Foreign films

We covered this a few months ago, with the approach of the Christmas holidays and Valentine’s day, yet watching films - regardless of your personal penchant for dark comedy, romantic escapades, good old westerns or what not - is proven to improve your language skills in a flash. Whether you’re including foreign subtitles to an English classic or tucking into some classic Sophia Loren, language learning through films is an easy way to add to your vocabulary, cultural know-how and learn a bit of slang terminology along the way. Make sure you browse through the itunes store, as well as Lovefilm for the latest films, as well as foreign classics.

5) Music

You can dig deep into foreign pop, cheesy tunes and addictive bass by checking out foreign bands. An easy way to do so is to search for music blogs, starting with The Guardian’s pick of the best for each month, giving you the chance to check out some awesome blogs across the world. You can also get yourself an account with Spotify and Last.fm and listen to similar artists, by the click of a button. In short, if you like one foreign band, both websites will provide you with new material from other artists with a sound akin to what you’re listening to.

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